Turkey’s anti-democratic turn has all taken place without much notice from the outside world. It was not just coercive measures — arrests, investigations, tax fines, and imprisonments — that Washington willfully overlooked in favor of a sunnier narrative about the “Turkish miracle.” Perhaps it is not as clear, but over the last decade the AKP has built an informal, powerful, coalition of party-affiliated businessmen and media outlets whose livelihoods depend on the political order that Erdogan is constructing. Those who resist do so at their own risk.
Despite conciliatory remarks by Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul, Erdogan’s crackdown continued today as the government arrested 25 Twitter users for spreading “false information.” A day after the U.S. State Department suggested tourists stay away from Egypt’s pyramids, it is now warning Americans to avoid Turkey as well.While we hold out hope Egypt and Turkey, the current travails of both countries go to show just how hard it is to find good friends in the region. President Obama’s two best moderate Islamist friends—Morsi and Erdogan—continue to make headlines for all the wrong reasons.[Prisoner image courtesy of Shutterstock]